rushing fences - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 02-05-2008, 09:40 PM Thread Starter
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rushing fences

Hi everyone! I am having issues with my 18 year old paint rushing fences. He jumps everything as if they are 3 feet tall (even crossrails). I have tried holding him at a trot and it doesnt work, and the farther we get through the course, the more excited he gets! Please help
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post #2 of 6 Old 02-05-2008, 10:57 PM
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Try going back to the very basics, and work with your horse over groundpoles and cavalettis to help his stride. Do some research so that you can measure the distances correctly for trotting or cantering (work with both). And remember to count like you're jumping! That way, you and your horse can develop a steady rhythm before you even leave the ground. =)
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post #3 of 6 Old 02-05-2008, 11:22 PM
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Yay! Rushing! My old mare's favorite.
Set up two verticals (or x-rails, whatever you're comfortable with) with a few strides in between. Then try these exercises:

1) Trot up to the first one, jump it, then stop. Turn around, jump the fence, and stop, turn, jump, stop, turn, jump.... you get the idea. Make the "turn" portion work as well - turn on the forehand, haunches, etc, don't just turn around if you can avoid it. Once your horse settles down and realizes that he's just going to stop on the other side and starts coming back on his own, then you can trot to the next fence and let him jump it. As soon as he gets rushy again, go back to stopping and turning.

2) Trot to the first fence, but instead of going straight to the second jump, do a 20-m (or whatever works) circle back to the first fence. Mix things up. Add a circle between fences whenever you can, so your horse doesn't start thinking "oh, well now I can rush to the next fence!!!)

And other things you can work on without setting up those two fences:

3) Going back to your basic collect/extend exercises with Dressage really will help. Even if you have to take a few months off of jumping, I promise that dressage will help.

4) Try posting your canter.. seems silly, but you know how you can control your trot through posting? Apply the same thing to the canter.

5) Count your strides, and don't let your tempo speed up. Sometimes you can subconsciously be influencing your horse to speed up without thinking about it

6) Keep checking and giving!! Don't start a game of tug-of-war or you will lose. When the horse feels constant pressure on its mouth, it will think "okay I can take advantage of this, she's not paying attention to me!" ... if you keep your hands checking and giving, you are telling the horse that you are keeping your cool and are constantly reminding him that you're in control.

I'm sure I'll come up with more later :) Hope this helps!

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post #4 of 6 Old 02-06-2008, 12:41 AM
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Go back to ground poles for a bit and really try to keep his rhythm in the back of your head.

After you feel that he can trot and canter through ground poles without changing his speed, go on to a very, very small jump (maybe.. 6 inches?). small enough for him to walk over. Now, walk towards the jump as if you were going to jump it, but start a slow trot a few strides away from it, and jump it! if he still feels really rushy while he does that, keep on doing it. He needs to learn that he doesn't get to jump bigger, or trot sooner before it unless he's listening to you first.

While you're doing this, alternate stopping and going back to the trot after the jump. So, after you go over the jump, keep him straight and try to get him to halt right away, and keep him straight! Alternate that with just going back to the trot after and then go back to the walk, and then again with the exercise.

Once he's listening to you with the first exercise, you can start to ask him to trot a little more before it now. So let's say for the exercise, you trotted him 4 strides before the jump now you ask him to trot 7 strides before the jump, etc. Keep doing this until you can increase it to not having to walk!

When you're doing all of this: remember to alternate stopping after the jump!
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post #5 of 6 Old 02-06-2008, 10:42 AM
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Another exercise you can do is to circle. When you head to the jump and she speeds up, circle her out (this does not teach her to run out). Keep the circle big enough that she doesn't have to head to the jump at an angle and small enough that she can start to maintain a comfortable rhythm. Keep circling our until she can head to the fence without speeding up. If she stays the same and then rushes over the fence I'd halt her right after the fence. Then come back and head to the fence again.

Another variation is to just canter circles with a jump in there, over and over and over agan. Circling is a great way to teach a horse rhythym!

The main question is, what's happening that she's rushing the fences? Is it something that you're doing or is she nervous? Does she know how to jump well or do should you go back to the basics?
I would definately try lots of bounces and gymnastic work too as it teaches them to use their body a little better so they're more comfortable jumping, and you really can't rush a gymnastic with out clobbering it (which they do learn!) Plus, it's a great exercise for you to sit there and keep your body still in case there's something you're doing that makes her rush more.
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post #6 of 6 Old 02-06-2008, 02:43 PM
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Gymnastic exercises are a really really really great way to teach horses to jump for themselves. The rider goes into two point for the whole gymnastic exercise, sitting quietly and learning to balance while the horse finds the spots and adjusts his own stride.

Using these types of exercises will encourage your horse to relax (he'll have to or he'll crash through) and slow down on his own, naturally. A few important keys are to trot in and canter out, and build the gymnastic one obstacle at a time. Wait until he's comfortable before adding another element. It's a lot easier if you have someone who can help you from the ground and serve as your jump crew.

If you need an explanation of gymnastic exercises, how to set them up, or ideas for a variety of set-ups, go check out The explanation is too long to post here. Hope that helps!

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